Lehtonen Keeps It Classy With Two New Masks
If the old adage, “it takes one to know one” holds true, it isn’t hard to figure out why Joni ‘Bona’ Hallikainen makes for a great goalie mask artist. Friend and former teammate of Kari Lehtonen, ‘Bona’ was once a promising young professional goaltender in Helsinki himself. A torn ACL and another up and coming Junior B goalie provided an unfortunate exit from playing hockey as a career. That other goalie? You guessed it, Kari Lehtonen. While Lehtonen may be the one between the pipes in Dallas, Hallikainen is not without representation. Now a mask artist, Hallikainen has painted two of Lehtonen’s masks, including one last year to accompany the Stars’ jersey unveiling as well as Lehtonen’s Finnish Olympic mask for Sochi. We’re looking forward to many more creations from this dynamic duo!
Bona has put two masks together for Lehtonen this year. Both have identical designs and inverse colour schemes, so we assume they’ll be worn at home and on the road respectively. Playing nicely with the Stars colour scheme of green, white, and silver, Bona and Lehtonen have a clean and polished look to this design. On both masks, the new “starred D” logo is featured on the left and right sides of the masks. According to Hallikainen, “Kari wanted to have similar design what he had last season and spice it up with some 1970 era low rider graphics”, and so all Bona had to do was call up Marcus Power for a design and they were off to the races.
On the top of the masks, you can see several old Stars logos, paying homage to the team Lehtonen has backstopped since 2009. The chrome strips and linear design of the mask make for pleasing aesthetics and Bona doesn’t try to do too much with the illustration. The colours work well, the designs work well, and it appears goalie and artist work well together too!
The backplates of Lehtonen’s masks feature the Dallas skyline, as well as the initials of his family members.
Lehtonen was a workhorse last year, starting 65 games (tops in the NHL) for a Dallas Stars team that is quickly gaining notoriety in an already tough Western Conference. Rising star and captain Jamie Benn, combined with incoming players like Tyler Seguin and Erik Cole, youngsters Valeri Nichushkin and Antoine Roussel to lead a resurgent Dallas offense, but they needed Lehtonen to be solid in the crease. No problem. Lehtonen, with a record of 33-20-10, held a .919 SV% and 2.41 GAA last year. Stars fans hope he can do the same again, and with Ales Hemsky and Jason Spezza arriving in Dallas, it’s likely their team will be competitive once again.
While not able to play hockey professionally anymore, we’re glad Hallikainen didn’t stray too far from the game itself. His mask for Lehtonen at the beginning of last year helped usher in a new era in Dallas, and his Olympic creation was excellent. To see more of Hallikainen’s fantastic work, visit his Facebook page or contact him directly via email. The progression photos from Bona’s workshop are a must-see below!